SS9-10: Frustrated Sordo slips down order
Wales Rally GB
Mads Østberg and Ott Tänak climbed the leaderboard at Wales Rally GB on Saturday morning after a gearbox glitch cost Spain’s Dani Sordo a hard-earned fourth place.
The Spaniard relegated Østberg earlier but the second pass through Dyfi proved costly as he lost almost 30sec and dropped to sixth in his Hyundai i20.
“I had a problem shifting down with the gearbox,” said Sordo. “I arrived at a hairpin in fourth gear when it wouldn’t change down and stalled. After that I went like crazy, braked too late for a corner and hit a barrier.”
Østberg and Tänak climbed to fourth and fifth respectively, even though the Estonian spun his Ford Fiesta RS in the same stage. Tänak is 1.7sec clear of Sordo.
Østberg continued to struggle with water and mud entering the cockpit of his DS 3 through a hole in the floor. “It’s not feeling great. The pedals are getting slippery and there’s a lot of water in there,” said the Norwegian, who has to mop up the dirt after each stage.
Conditions worsened for the second pass through Gartheiniog and Dyfi as rain fell steadily. Standing water filled the ruts and second-placed Kris Meeke explained how tricky it was on the muddy gravel tracks in Citroën’s DS 3.
“You can commit to a corner at the entry and everything looks good, but you get halfway through and find the ruts are full of water. I have to tread with caution because I don’t want to do anything stupid,” he said.
Meeke narrowed the gap to leader Sébastien Ogier with second fastest time behind Andreas Mikkelsen in Gartheiniog before the Frenchman hit back to win Dyfi by 5.6sec from the Ulsterman. The gap between them was 19.3sec, with Mikkelsen a further 27.4sec back.
Hayden Paddon, Elfyn Evans, Stéphane Lefebvre and Robert Kubica complete the leaderboard behind Sordo, Kubica having leaped ahead of Lorenzo Bertelli and Martin Prokop.
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